Is your dog not wanting to eat on its own? They may have a medical reason for why they do not want to eat. If your dog is not eating, you may have to force-feed them until they are healthy again and want to eat on their own. Your vet is a great resource for advice on what to feed your dog so that they start to feel happy and healthy again.
Before scrolling down this guide, “How to Force Feed a Dog,” you can check out these other related content from our team at We Love Doodles: German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Chart and What Human Food Can I Feed My Diabetic Dog.
How Do You Force Feed a Dog
When you have to force your dog to eat, these are some tips you can try to make it easier to make your dog eat.
1. Warm their wet food to make it more appealing
If your dog does not want to eat their dry kibble, you can try to offer them wet food. When giving your dog wet food, make sure to warm their food just a small amount. You do not want to make it too hot, but when you warm it, you make it smell a little better. Some dogs will readily eat food if it is warmed.
2. Offer them a bland diet of human food
Giving your dog a small amount of human food mixed with their regular dog food will help entice them to eat. This is a bland diet, such as chicken and rice or a scrambled egg. These are very easy and gentle on your dog’s stomach.
3. Syringe the food
Some dogs will not eat their food no matter what you try. Then, you will have to syringe or force-feed them. You can try to open your dog’s mouth and put a small bite of food in their mouth. They may quickly swallow this bite. Then you can continue this. Many dogs will spit this food out or bite you while trying to put food in their mouth. If it is a struggle forcing your dog to eat, you can syringe feed your dog.
These are the steps to follow to syringe feed your dog successfully:
- Mix wet can food and water until you make a soupy mixture.
- You can get a syringe from your local vet, pet, or farm supply store.
- Suck this mixture of food up into a syringe. Some syringed have larger openings to help food pass through easier.
- Raise the side of your dog’s lip and place the syringe right behind the K9 teeth.
- Point the syringe towards the back of your dog’s mouth and plunge a very small amount of food into their mouth.
- Give your dog a few seconds to swallow that bite of food.
- Continues to repeat this process until they have eaten all their food.
Do not get discouraged; this takes a long time for you to learn to do and for your dog to tolerate. Some dogs will quickly catch on to eating this way, whereas others will learn what you are about to do and fight you the whole time.
Seeking Veterinary Care For Your Dog
Sometimes you can easily get your dog to start eating again with these few tips and tricks. Other times you may need to see your vet. If your dog does not want to eat and is also vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargic, it is time to see your vet.
Common reasons that your dog does not want to eat are:
- GI foreign body
- Parvo Virus
Many times these diseases will also need medication for nausea and diarrhea to help your dog want to eat again. Your vet will be able to run bloodwork and examine your dog to see what is causing them not to eat and prescribe you the correct medication to help them feel much better.
What Else Can My Vet Do to Help My Dog Eat?
There are many things that your vet can prescribe your dog to help them want to eat.
1. Anti-nausea medication
If your dog is not eating often, it is because they are nauseated. Your vet can prescribe medication to help treat this nausea. They can give injectable medication to calm your dog’s stomach if they are constantly vomiting.
2. Appetite Stimulates
Your vet can prescribe medications to help stimulate their appetite. Some disease conditions can cause your dog to feel bad and not want to eat. End-stage kidney failure can cause your dog not to want to eat. Appetite stimulates easily given to your dog each day to help entice them to eat.
3. Feeding Tubes
If your dog is very sick, your vet may recommend that your dog have a feeding tube placed. This would be a very small tube that runs from their nose or mouth into their stomach. Their food would then be made into a liquid and syringed into this tube and your dog’s stomach.
4. Hospitalize your Dog
Some disease conditions require your dog to be hospitalized. Many vets will recommend that your dog stays in the hospital on IV fluids and syringes fed by the hospital staff to ensure they get the proper nutrition.
Conclusion For “How to Force Feed a Dog”
If your dog is not eating, it is best to figure out why they do not want to eat. They may be a picky eater, but many health conditions and other diseases can cause your dog not to want to eat.
Once your figure out why your dog is not eating, you can easily treat this condition and start your dog back to eating. While nursing your dog back to health, you can follow these tips and tricks to make their food more enticing and make them want to eat again.
If you find this guide, “How to Force Feed a Dog,” helpful, you can check out:
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You can learn more about feeding a dog by watching “How to Feed a Dog or Puppy Correctly” down below:
Andy is a full-time animal rescuer and owner of a toy doodle. When he’s not saving dogs, Andy is one of our core writers and editors. He has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Andy joined our team because he believes that words are powerful tools that can change a dog’s life for the better.
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